In 2006, then-recently retired Steelers running back Jerome Bettis firmly believed coach Bill Cowher would leave after the season. And Bettis was right.
Seven years later, a lesser-known member of the Giants thinks his head coach will be calling it quits after the coming season.
Appearing earlier today on NFL Network, Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas said he believes Coughlin has one year left, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger.
“I think he has one more in him,” Thomas said. “We have a great nucleus of guys, and I don’t think he wants to give that up. That passion is still burning within him. He’s in that facility all day every day; he’s going crazy not being able to coach and watch film. He lives and breathes football. He has everybody in there all day, every day, in the offseason.”
Coughlin, who turns 67 in August, has wisely avoided talking about his plans. Lame-duck coaches have a hard time creating full accountability in the locker room, since the players know that they’ll be answering to someone else next year. And so the departure needs to come suddenly, perhaps with a Bettis-style walk into the sunset.
“I think he wants to go out on top,” Thomas said of Coughlin. “Hopefully, we can get it right, and bring a Super Bowl home in Giants Stadium.”
It would be a fitting ending to a career that has featured a late run at Canton. Still, even without a Super Bowl win this year, the clock is ticking on Coughlin’s career.
And when he calls it quits, that’s when Cowher could re-emerge. Bettis also has said that Cowher is waiting for the Giants job to come open.